Andrew Shields lives in Basel, Switzerland. His collection of poems Thomas Hardy
Listens to Louis Armstrong
was published by Eyewear in 2015. His band Human
Shields released the album Somebody's Hometown in 2015 and the EP Défense de
in 2016.

Genius In Our Midst

for Axel Rűst

Everyone's longing for something else on this crosstown bus;
the driver's longing only for the end of his shift.
The man without a ticket is longing to get busted;
maybe he's the genius in our midst.

Her short legs dangle from the tall stool at the end of the bar;
she's been stood up; she's trying to nurse her drink.
Maybe someone will treat her to another, but not get farther;
maybe she's the genius in our midst.

So you say you understand everything I've ever said;
please don't say a word about it—I'm easily pissed.
I like to think I said it well; please don't say it better,
unless you are the genius in our midst.

I might be the superstar just walking in the door;
I might be the gate crasher with all my little tricks.
I might be the man in black standing in the corner;
could I be the genius in our midst?

If you and I complain about standing in his lines,
he'll surely put our names down on some list.
So listen to the woman at the bar, with her battle cry,
"Watch out for the genius in our midst."

I Am An Island

I dreamed a rocky island no one wanted,
with nothing to grow or mine or generate,
no birds nesting, even in the summer,
or schools of fish or whales to overfish,
or sharks to cut the fins off for treats.
I lay below the island's craggy summit,
which offered me no protection from the wind,
and drank up my last water in one go.
The gusts and breakers sang me off to sleep,
to dream a blue-striped couch to write these lines on.

Macaroni And Cheese

for Selena Gomez

I woke up in the future.
There was dust everywhere.
The house was so stuffy;
the cupboards were bare.
I threw open the windows
and headed out the door.
The car wouldn't start,
so I walked to the store.

And every shelf was full
of macaroni and cheese.
All they had for sale
was macaroni and cheese.

I woke up in the past
and saw myself asleep.
Back then, I was so small,
and all my clothes were cheap.
I walked down the hall
by the nightlight's glow
and went into the kitchen.
This was all so long ago.

And every shelf was full
of macaroni and cheese.
All we had to eat
was macaroni and cheese.

We wore our finest clothes
to celebrate the day.
We went out on the town
to such a fine cafe.
Laughing at a cloudburst,
we ran through the rain
to a table by the window
and their best champagne.

And the special of the day
was macaroni and cheese.
Pâtes au fromage,
macaroni and cheese.

Mr. Memory

When you're alone with your name,
what you recall is your self.

Shoulders hunched up with the rain,
no umbrella, lost again,
Mr. Memory heads for home,
turns the corner, and he's gone.

If you forget your own name,
what can you say to yourself?

The rain against the windowpane
is everything left behind.
Mr. Memory waits for you
round the corner, but you're gone.

And you awake with no name,
bells ringing in a blue day.

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